Lina Bo Bardi


Lina Bo Bardi (1914–1992) was an Italian-Brazilian architect, exhibition designer, and the editor of journals including Domus and Habitat. After moving to Brazil in 1946—where her husband Pietro Maria Bardi became the first director of the São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP)—in 1947, the two of them, together with architect Jacob Ruchti, created the Instituto de Arte Contemporânea (Institute of Contemporary Art, or IAC) within the museum. In 1959, Lina Bo Bardi moved to Salvador to found and direct the Museu de Arte Moderna da Bahia (MAM-BA). More than a museum, the MAM-BA was devised as a popular art documentation center and school. Here she conceived of a second school, the Escola de Desenho Industrial e Artesanato. A crucial aspect of Bo Bardi’s idea was to bring together designers and local master craftspeople—connecting modern and industrial creativity to Brazilian society by establishing a popular university centered on a school of industrial design and handicraft. Lina Bo Bardi believed that handicrafts—understood not as folklore but as a form of technological innovation emanating from the hands of the people—should provide the basis of Brazilian industrial design. Consequently, she collected many objects of so-called “popular culture.”